FIFA suspends player for 18 months for same substance as Valieva

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FIFA on Monday suspended Ivorian goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo for 18 months in a doping case involving the same substance that Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva tested positive for ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

Gbohouo tested positive for trimetazidine during Ivory Coast’s qualifier against Cameroon last November, which he lost 1-0.

FIFA’s decision said the player was prescribed a drug for an eye disorder last year to “improve his retinal blood flow” and that it contained trimetazidine dihydrochloride.

Trimetazidine is also a heart medication that Valieva’s lawyers said her grandfather was taking and she accidentally ingested weeks before the Beijing Games in February.

Then 15, Valieva was cleared to compete in Beijing pending a full investigation into her positive test by the Russian anti-doping agency, which is ongoing. She placed fourth at the Olympics after an error-filled free skating program.

A key element in the Valieva and Gbohouo investigations is judging the responsibility and blame that athletes must accept for testing positive, and the possible role of their team’s medical staff.

The FIFA Disciplinary Committee decided that Gbohouo had no intention of improving his performance by cheating and should not serve a full four-year ban.

The ruling said Gbohouo “did not intend to dope, but rather wished to treat a visual field defect by taking medication prescribed by an ophthalmologist.”

FIFA judges also admitted that “in the artificial cocoon of an international footballer’s life”, a player could expect doctors and team officials to help ensure that all the drugs he took were safe.

The decision also noted that Gbohouo, 33, was an experienced top player and “could rightly be expected to exercise caution” when taking medication.

“As a result and taking into account the circumstances of the case described above, the committee concluded that the player’s degree of fault was normal rather than significant,” the FIFA document reads.

Gbohouo, who was playing for Ethiopian side Wolkite City when he tested positive, missed the Africa Cup of Nations in January while provisionally suspended, and could miss his country’s next edition of the tournament. origin next year.

FIFA said the ban would run until June 23, 2023, the opening day of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.

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